Author Sally Rooney is holding off on allowing her current book to be translated into Hebrew, citing Israel's "system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians.”
In a statement issued Tuesday through her literary representatives, the Wylie Agency, the Irish novelist said she hoped to eventually find a Hebrew-language translator for Beautiful World, Where Are You, which came out last month, but will not do so through an Israeli publisher. Her previous novels, Normal People and Conversations With Friends, were released in Hebrew through Modan Publishing House.
"I understand that not everyone will agree with my decision, but I simply do not feel it would be right for me under the present circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people,” said Rooney, 30, one of the world's most popular and acclaimed young writers.
Rooney's decision was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
In her statement, Rooney cited a pair of reports - by Israeli human rights groups B'Tselem and New York-based Human Rights Watch - that declared Israel to be an apartheid state due to its treatment of Palestinians both within its borders and in occupied territories.
These reports, she said, "confirmed what Palestinian human rights groups have long been saying: Israel's system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law.”
Rooney also praised the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities. BDS says it seeks to end Israel’s occupation of lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and what it describes as discrimination against Israel’s Arab minority. It also calls for the "right of return” for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to homes their ancestors fled or were expelled from in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.
Israeli officials vehemently reject the apartheid accusations, and Israel and other BDS opponents say the BDS campaign aims to delegitimise or even destroy the country.
Rooney is the latest prominent public figure to embrace BDS, whose supporters have included musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno, filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach and The Color Purple author Alice Walker.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, a founding member of the BDS movement, said in a statement that it "warmly welcomed" Rooney's decision.
"Rooney joins countless international authors in supporting the institutional cultural boycott of Israel’s complicit publishing sector, just as progressive artists once supported the boycott of apartheid South Africa,” the statement reads.
The offices of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Israel’s culture and sports minister, Chili Trooper, declined comment. - AP